An Overview of World Suicide Prevention Day

Every 10th of September, World Suicide Prevention Day is observed across the globe to reiterate the need to stay committed to preventing suicides. It has been found that the key triggers for suicides are unemployment, poverty, arguments, work problems, depression, alcohol abuse, etc. Suicidal thoughts can develop because of a variety of complex socioeconomic factors that surface during individual, family, or socioeconomic crisis.

Statistics show that in the wealthier countries, more men commit suicides compared to women whereas in low-income countries, it is the reverse. For example, in the US, men are more than 4 times likelier to commit suicide than women. You will find that suicide is stigmatized in most places, particularly for religious reasons. Some countries have even declared it a crime punishable by law. This stigma is typically because of mental health issues that may lead to suicidal thoughts. It is believed that people who commit suicide or try to do so are not reaching out for help and therefore not receiving this help. So, it is the need of the hour to take cognizance of this issue; it is important to raise awareness about suicide and look at it as a significant health problem. Breaking the taboo associated with it can help countries achieve progress in preventing suicides.

Socioeconomic factors have always impacted suicidal behaviors. According to a press release by WHO, about a third of global suicides have been possible through pesticides. This is why the WHO has strongly urged Asian nations to limit pesticide use, some of which have even been prohibited by international conventions but being made and sold by Asian countries. It is believed that legalizing controlled-euthanasia like in Switzerland can stop such painful deaths. According to 2017 figures, almost 30% of worldwide suicides had been because of pesticide poisoning, largely in rural areas in the middle and low income nations. In the wealthier nations, it was hanging or the use of firearms.

Depression and mental health problems have been responsible for many deaths by suicide. Abuse, exploitation, ill-treatment, and aggression trigger feelings of despair and pain that in turn drive people to commit suicide. Alcohol use and substance abuse are factors that also need to be investigated; there must be prevention strategies to raise awareness about these. Alcohol is related to almost a third of suicide-caused deaths. Many use alcohol to self-medicate when suffering from personality disorders or anxiety. But chronic alcohol use can get such people addicted to it. It starts to affect their bodies, social relationships, and even career. Alcohol can damage an otherwise healthy individual with no history of medical issues. It can worsen symptoms of mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, depression, etc and lead to suicides.

American and European societies have a higher mortality rate for men than Asia. According to WHO, about 40,000 women and 150,000 men commit suicides every year in the US and Europe. While women may be more susceptible to suicidal thoughts, the rates are higher for males. This difference can be because of the use of lethal means and a high intent to diet amongst men than women. Reasons for suicide rates being different amongst men and women can be because of many factors like gender equality issues, accessibility to different means to end their lives, differences in methods of handling stresses and conflicts, patterns of alcohol abuse, and differences in how they seek care for mental disorders.